Disneyland, Los Angeles
Many people expect to visit Disneyland while in Los Angeles, but don't realize that Disneyland is not in the city of Los Angeles nor even in the County of Los Angeles. Rather it is in the city of Anaheim--in Orange County.
Lots of L.A. hotels will offer a shuttle or bus to Disneyland, but if you're planning to get there on your own, don't expect to do it by public transportation very easily.
Unique Suggestions: If Disneyland is your only destination it would be better to check into a hotel in the city of Anaheim or even Buena Park. While in Anaheim, getting to Disneyland is very easy, with shuttle stops all over the place.
For me Disneyland was a disappointment. I had imagined it would be a huge amusement park offering something also for adults. Soon I noticed that most of the attractions were made for children, "Goofy" and "Mickey Mouse" were walking around trying to make people laugh.
I had to wait/line/queue for some attraction (there were only three or so for adults) for even two hours, which I think is not bearable. If you want to ride a few attraction, eat and drink something, you won't make it in one day.
Unique Suggestions: The nice things were the Space Mountain, the train on the open air mountain and the thing that made us wet at the end (a steep drop-down to water - a real Splash).
The "Main Street Electrical Parade" in the dark was a very nice experience (see my pictures). A lot of efforts have been put on this parade.
Fun Alternatives: Rather go to the Six Flags parks if you are looking for real attractions, speed, a little fear and fun. Disneyland is just a family park too full of people.
But if you don't like rollercoasters, go to Universal Studios. It is a tourist trap too, but choose a low season time. The studios are much more interesting than Disneyland where you just loose your money for nothing.
Disneyland is actually located in Anahiem, CA a few miles south of the real city of LA, still when people think of coming to Disneyland they fist think of a trip to LA.
Opened in 1955 with very few rides, (I can attest to that as I was there in 1956) Disneyland has grown from one man's idea of a "The happiest place on earth" to a mega-business that is just out to earn money to stay in operation.
The "happyness" of years gon by have been replaced by medocre food, long lines, crowds, irritable parents and crying children because they were not tall enough to get on the ride they'd waited all morning to ride.
Such is the life of a modern day amusement park.
Unique Suggestions: BUT, it must be experienced at least once (or once a year in some cases). In spite of the crowds the nightime light shows and parades do bring back a bit of the glamor that made the park(s) famous.
Fun Alternatives: Just across the parking lot is the newest, The California Adventure. The crowds are typicaly not as heavy even in peak tourist season.
While it does have amusement rides, it is more of an educational park that childeren can learn from while still enjoying.
Dirty, crowded (long lines for everything including the rest room), and run- down. I was sooo disappointed . The "small world" trek I remembered fondly as a kid looked neglected with its peeling paint and warbled music. Oh and did I mention the lousy overpriced food? Tickets for this tourist trap are a whopping 47 bucks a pop, plus parking and overpriced food/drink etc.
Unique Suggestions: I hear kids still enjoy this and perhaps do not notice the lack of care. I would be apprehensive if I were a parent and choose kiddy rides close to the ground.
Fun Alternatives: I hear the neighboring California adventure park is fun but I was afraid to spend 50 more bucks to find out.
Downtown Disney is the collection of restaurants and shops adjacent to the entrance of both Disneyland and Disney Adventures. What may surprise first-time visitors is that the prevailing theme here is not really Disney. The restaurants are generally very crowded during the summer and any weekend during the year that the Disney parks are open. The food is varied, but not especially great. The prices are above average to expensive. The shops vary from standard mall quality to unique. If food or shopping for souveniers isn't part of the gameplan, you will be disappointed.
Unique Suggestions: Visit ESPNZone. It's for the sports lover in your family or group. There is a huge amusement center on the top floor as well. The food is ok, but nothing special. You go there for the atmosphere. They also have a talk show located there and will have sports personalities interviewed from time to time.
There is also a House of Blues there for some good music. I've been there once and the food isn't bad. There are live acts headlining there throughout the year, check their web site for dates and tickets.
Fun Alternatives: Try the Irvine Spectrum. It's about 15-20 minutes south of Disneyland and has something for everyone. It's a fun place to hang out anytime. Tons of good restaurants, a comedy club, some music-themed clubs, a brewery, lots of shopping, and a big movie theatre to boot.
It's really expencive..so pack food, drinks etc. And don't buy too many stuffed Mickey Mouse dolls..really, you can get them cheaper in the mall back home. I mean..they even have their own money there!!